This was originally posted as part of Kristen Duke’s Decorating with Portraits series. I wanted to post it here, too, for those who missed it and because I want to remember/have a record of what I said and how I felt.
When Kristen asked me to post about decorating with portraits I was all:
My 5 year old has Asperger’s. Because of that, he FREAKS out about pictures and we have literally no family pictures worth displaying from the last 5 years or so. Any pictures I display are mom taken snapshot type pictures because at least he’s not rolling around on the ground/chewing on his shirt/screaming/giving a thumbs down/hiding behind someone/etc.
So, anything I could contribute would be using non professional quality photos/portraits.
How do you feel about that?
I think that is an excellent perspective that is completely worthy to share! This series isn’t just about displaying professional photos, but snapshots, too. Anything that shows your children they are loved! I know there are other mothers out there that are experiencing something similar.
I’m going to be super honest with you here…there are many days that Asperger’s kicks my trash. It’s been a long 5.5 years. It’s not easy for me to talk about, because I love my kid and I’m emotional and protective. Plus, HOLY VULNERABILITY when I lay it all out like this. BUT, Kristen’s right. There are many, many of us in the autism club, so here I am.
Let me show you a little bit of what I meant in my initial response. Here’s the last batch of family photos we had taken by my insanely talented friend Leilani.
Pictures that emphasize Campbell’s problems (that word’s not sitting right with me, but I can’t think of a better one right now) make me sad. I’ve come home from a photo session and sobbed more than once. There’s a yearning for “normal” that I can’t put into words. And there’s a want, maybe even a NEED, to document and display the happy times and not let autism define him. How would I feel if all the pictures in my home documented my bad temper or my cursing habit?
So, if you come to my house, you won’t find any blown up canvas prints or a giant framed photo above the mantel…you’ll find lots and lots of pictures taken by me. And I’m definitely not a photographer…just a mom that wants to remember the good stuff.
Welcome to my living room.
This display is a whole bunch of cheap-o IKEA frames duct taped together on the back. You can read more about it here, if you’re interested. I swap the pictures as often as the mood strikes (because 39 cents for a 5X7 doesn’t exactly persuade me not to).
On the other side of that wall, in my family room, you’ll find this:
I saw the clipboard treatment online several years ago and have been meaning to do my own version. This post was just the push I needed. (Details on how I laid out the clipboards here.)
And so, instead of remembering tears and anxiety (me, not the Asperger’s ), we remember birthdays with our best friends, karate kicks above our heads, football coaches with no kids of their own, first days of school, stuffed animals can be our best friends, and that smiling will NOT get you off time out any quicker.
Celebrate the ordinary. Be thankful for those moments.